Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vintage Vacation...Grand Canyon!


Isn't Life Grand?
One of the best things we ever did was buy a condo in the Las Vegas area...actually it's in Henderson at the foot of Black Mountain...a rocky desert peak inhabited...supposedly...by big horn sheep.  We do know that some of our neighbors are rattlesnakes and scorpions...lol...and not just the ones who use our parking space when we're not there.  Having a base in Vegas means that we are in day-trip distance of many interesting southwestern attractions...like Death Valley and especially the Grand Canyon.  Also, it's nice to have a warmer place for a retreat when our mountain winters get too frosty.
A few weeks ago we were able to take my sister and her husband to the Grand Canyon...her first trip there in almost 50 years.


1910 Postcard View.

 Patti's hubby is afraid of heights, which made it difficult for him to get photos with sweeping views...although he bought his camera especially for this trip.  Patti is still a bit skittish about the overlooks.  When we were children we followed the Bright Angel trail to the overlook...pretty steep dropoffs in places.  Our Dad...still suffering from adolescence in his late 20's...thought it would be hilarious to pretend to throw us off.  He did this often...Yellowstone Hot Pots, Goosenecks of the San Juan...any place dangerous enough to give us nightmares.  Don't get me wrong...we were pretty happy most of the time.  Remember "fun" is buried somewhere in the word "Dysfunctional!"

El Tovar Hotel...
Rim Trail with El Tovar in the Background

We enjoy parking in the main lot at the Visitor's Center and following the 2.5 mile trail along the rim.  It was a lovely day...cool and sunny, with hardly any wind.  We took our time...stopping along the way to take photos of the breathtaking views and of the many "nearly tame" elk napping under the trees.  Finally...coming around a curve we saw the stately El Tovar Hotel in the distance...as dignified in her old age as a dowager empress.  I love the old national park lodges...like the El Tovar and the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone.  The feeling is  rustic "Craftsman" one of my favorite decorating styles with handcrafted wooden furniture and Navajo rugs hanging on the walls. 

El Tovar in a 1910 postcard.
I found these cards at Treasures Antiques last week.

The El Tovar Hotel, on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon was opened in 1905.  Up until this time, vistors had to "rough it" in tents and primitive cabins, traveling to the canyon on bumpy dirt roads.  El Tovar is a "Fred Harvey" hotel...one of only a few still operating.  One hotel is the La Posada in Winslow Arizona on the old Route 66.  El Tovar got its name from Don Pedro Tovar, a Spanish conquistador who probably never even got as far north as the Grand Canyon.  It was popular to give southwestern hotels romantic spanish names...I know they appeal to me! 

The hotel looks like a rustic hunting lodge with a European influence...wonderful!  The Grand California Hotel at Disneyland reminds me of these old lodges.  We had lunch in the main dining room which has tables with spectacular views of the canyon.  The food was really good...Continenal and Southwestern...and not as expensive as we expected.  After lunch it was easy to just hop on a shuttle bus and head back to the Visitor Center parking lot...no more hiking for us!

Sisters!
We had a great time...a nice bonding experience. 

Our Grand Canyon Honeymoon...
Our Beetle...nicknamed "Wolfgang"

George and I were married in November of 1975.  Being poor BYU students...which is a cliche around her...we didn't have a lot of money for a honeymoon, so we decided to spend it at the Grand Canyon.  We traveled down historic old Highway 89 in our red and black VW Beetle.  89 is not quite as romantic in legend as Route 66...but we had a great time!  There is so much to see along that highway! We traveled through Kanab...once known as Little Hollywood.  Many famous westerns were filmed there...more than 100...and the TV show Gunsmoke.  Hotel signs bragged "John Wayne slept here!"  I hope to write more on Kanab and Old Highway 89 in the future...more Vintage Vacations!  The road led us to Page, Arizona and Lake Powell, then down through the Navajo Reservation to Flagstaff.  After such a lovely sunny drive, we were surprised to find snow in Flagstaff!   Then we turned west for Williams and the Grand Canyon turn-off...and warmer weather.

Blurry pic...but was happy to find it!
I'm wearing my favorite Turtlebax jeans and one of my comfy flannel shirts.
The weather was perfect...cool and sunny.

George was always "Joe Cool" back then...in his cowboy hat!
On the way home we stopped at Bryce Canyon...for a quick Clark Griswald looky look.
We had to hurry...we had wedding gifts at home waiting for us to unwrap.

 Hope you enjoyed this Vintage Vacation!

Wish you were here....

 



6 comments:

chris mckinley said...

What a fun post!! I have never been to the Grand Canyon...I hope to in the next year. I'm with you the older lodges are so romantic!!

ImagiMeri said...

WHAT????? and you didn't come to the valley to see us?????

Hugs,
Meri

vintage grey said...

What a fun trip and I love the Mickey sweatshirts!! I always enjoy your post Shirley!! Have a great weekend! xo Heather

The Faerie Factory said...

What a wonderful post thank you so much for sharing your vintage vacation it was such fun .. Sarah x

~Damita's Pretty Wrap~ said...

What a fun post! I've never been there before, maybe sometime. Wishing you a beautiful weekend Shirley! xo Holly

Patti M said...

Shirley, what a lovely picture of you and your sister! So sweet...hugs Patti M :)